A finalist in the Miss England Beauty Competition is the first ever beauty queen to compete in the pageant without wearing makeup.
Melisa Raouf is a 20-year-old college student from south London. She will compete against 40 other finalists to be crowned Miss England in October.
“Melisa is the first Miss England contestant ever to make it to the final totally make up free, isn’t she gorgeous!” the competition’s official Instagram account wrote about Raouf.
“It means a lot to me as I feel many girls of different ages wear makeup because they feel pressured to do so,” Raouf said in an interview. “If one is happy in their own skin we should not be made to cover up our face with makeup. Our flaws make us who we are and that’s what makes every individual unique.”
According to organizers, Raouf plans to go bare-faced again at the national final in October.
“With mental health being such a big topic, I want to make all girls feel good. I just want to remove all the beauty standards. I feel like all girls are beautiful in their own way. I feel like I’ve done it for all girls,” Raouf said.
“We wish her the best of luck in Miss England, it’s a very brave thing to do when everyone else is wearing makeup but she’s sending out an important message to young women,” said Angie Beasley, the director of Miss England.